Mays discussed the newest drug showing up on the streets, Suboxone, which is being abused by addicts despite the fact it is meant to be used to help people get off opoid drugs. Whithin days of the conversation another accused addict was arrested in Logan County for Suboxone abuse.
Mays said there are other drugs and programs that have been successful with defeating substance abuse, but locally Methadone and Suboxone appeared to be more trouble than they were worth.
"Vivitrol is a drug we prescribe here, and it is used to treat alcohol abuse," he explained. "It is an injection a person gets once a month under doctors' supervision and we have a Vivitrol group here. People actively receive treatment and they have to come to the group. This is another new medication but I don't think anyone has figured out how to abuse it yet. It is more controlled than Methadone, but it is for alcohol abuse and we have seen real success with it. It does not make people sick like Anabuse, it just reduces their desire. As far as we know Vivitrol is a good drug. Of course all of them can be good when you take them and use them the way you are supposed to use them. Like anything else, they can be abused. You can abuse almost anything if you so choose to do that. "
Some in law enforcement have been concerned Suboxin could become another major problem like methadone.
"I don't think Suboxone will be as big a problem as Methadone has, but if you combine it with Xanax or other drugs it can kill you the same way," Mays said. "Those Methadone clinics popped up and there was no real education given to the potential users of it. We probably could have had less problems and deaths had there been adequate education. Its kind of like a new restaurant, everybody has to try it.
Mays said some addicts can't be convinced of the potentially lethal dangers of their behavior.
"We encounter that in our DUI classes, people who think they will never get caught again. But if you continue to drink and abuse alcohol your potential to get caught is high. It affects your brain and your thinking is not clear," he explained. "Once a person starts drinking they might do anything and driving becomes trivial. Its the same thing with these other drugs. You are fooling yourself if you think you can quit anytime you want to or you can abuse them and function. Addiction is an awful thing and there is always a potential for relapse and people get depressed because they think they can't get over it because they are using again. You have to become really motivated... A person has to really want to change and then it is really hard work. It is sad, it is discouraging, but every now and then there is a bright spot."
Mays said the causes of substance abuse can be a mystery but it has been around a long time.
"I don't think anybody has the right answer," he said. "Drugs have been around since the days of Solomon. It describes drug abuse and addiction in the Psalms."
The Southern Coalfields Unlimited Recovery Area hold Narcotics Anonymous meetings locally throughout the area. On Mondays, the Outer Limits Group meets at the Boone County Business Development Center, Avenue C in Madison at 7 p.m.
On Tuesdays, the No Limits to Recovery Group meets at 7:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall on Main Street in Logan.
On Wednesdays, the New Hope Group meets at 7:30 p.m. at the Bruce McDonald United Methodist Church in Man.
On Thursdays, the Simple Basic Recovery Group meets at 1 p.m. at the First Baptist Church fellowship hall on Main Street in Logan (use side entrance).
On Fridays, the No Limits to Recovery Group meets at 7:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall (side entrance) located on Main Street in Logan.
On Sunday, The Alive and Free Group will meet at the old Central Junior High in Logan at 6:30 p.m.
The Narcotics Anonymous helpline is 1-800-766-4442.